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Feinstein: Bush still can make Mideast peace

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The Bush administration still has a chance to leave a legacy of Israeli-Palestinian peace based on an Arab League initiative, a top Jewish Democratic U.S. senator said. “I believe the most critical legacy this administration could leave and should leave is once and for all a peaceful settlement between the Palestinian and Israeli people, a two-state solution,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California told the Arab American Institute’s annual dinner on Wednesday. Feinstein, who chairs the Senate Rules Committee, praised the Arab League for reviving a 2002 plan that offers Israel comprehensive peace in exchange for a return to 1967 borders and some sort of agreement on a “right of return” for Palestinian refugees. Israel has said it will consider the offer, but it considers a mass return of refugees as demographic suicide for the Jewish state. Feinstein said such objections should not block progress. “It is incumbent on those who want peace to work through the difficult issues,” she said, noting that Israel should not be pushed to deal with those who support terrorism. The institute invited Feinstein, noting its recent closeness to the senator because she has initiated bills that would ban cluster bombs, sparked in part by Israel’s use of the munitions last summer in its war against Hezbollah in Lebanon. Hezbollah also fired cluster bombs into Israel. Feinstein’s legislation failed because of widespread opposition in both parties, but she pledged to continue submitting the legislation.”We will get this job done,” she said to applause.

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